Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 13+
Classic Hitchcock thriller is tense but not graphic.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while the movie is a typical Alfred Hitchcock thriller which carefully builds suspense, the action itself is restricted to one violent struggle in which there is an attempted strangulation and the victim uses a pair of scissors to defend herself. The rest of the film takes place almost entirely in an apartment in which characters intricately plan, bargain, bluff, blackmail, spar, and attempt to outwit one another. Two leading characters are revealed to have been adulterous lovers for several years. Set in 1954, alcohol is offered at the beginning of almost every scene as a form of hospitality and friendship. Most people smoke: cigarettes, a cigar, a pipe. Other than young film buffs, there's not much that would appeal to kids here.
- Families can talk about the difference between movies made in this era and movies made today. How is violence portrayed differently? Why is there so much less smoking in movies today?
- With scenes almost entirely in one room and based mostly on dialogue, how did Hitchcock build the suspense in this movie? Was it effective?
The good stuff
Positive messages: No matter how clever, it's almost impossible to execute a "perfect crime."
Positive role models: An English police inspector passionately seeks justice and works hard trying to outwit a clever killer. Reflective of the time in which it was made (1954), the heroine is fragile, dependent, and hardly capable of making a decision for herself.
What to watch for
Violence: There is one scene in which an intruder attempts to strangle a woman in her home; a fierce struggle ensues and someone is stabbed to death with a pair of scissors. Suspense is heightened because the audience knows beforehand that a murder has been ordered.
Sexy stuff: Two characters are in a long-term extra-marital romance. They kiss in two scenes.
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters consume alcoholic beverages in numerous social settings, and on one occasion a drink is offered to soothe the victim of a traumatic experience. There is no drunkenness. Smoking is frequent: cigarettes, a pipe, and a cigar.